Retention of Learning


As we began spring ball today, I shared the learning pyramid on retention of learning with both our coaches and players. My notes appear to the right in red. With our coaches the message was to make meeting time as interactive as possible and to move away from lecturing and having their players read bullet points off a Power Point (lowest retention rate of learning). Instead, I wanted them to move towards using dynamic content whether that was Power Point diagrams with animations, still shot step-by-step illustrations with coaching points, film or preferably a combination of those things. I also encouraged them to use our editing system to prepare video walk thru – essentially a screen cast of them talking through a play and giving coaching points. I like this method for an install because your comments as a coach are saved and accessible for player review later, whereas if you just talk through video in a meeting, once the meeting is over, there is nothing for the player to refer back to. I also encouraged our coaches to make the meetings as interactive as possible: Ask questions, have a player demonstrate, have them all stand up and show exactly the footwork or hand placement we expect. Don’t just allow the players to be passive learners.

For the players, I let them know that their meetings would be interactive – that we would expect them to be able to talk through plays as we moved further through our install, especially our experienced players. The expectation is that they all bring a notebook and write down the coaching points they need to remember. I no longer print out Power Points or diagrams for them. They are expected to take notes.

Our quarterback and receiver meetings have been very interactive with players taking over a portion of the meeting after the first couple of days of install. I am fortunate to have several young men who aspire to be football coaches, so this is great preparation for their future as well. Eventually I can sit back and let them coach each other. Our quarterbacks are expected to be the most vocal and detailed in these meetings. I will take notes and share my observations with them so that they can become better leaders in those meetings.

I also believe that our coaches do a great job organizing and preparing their practice drills and periods to be efficient and effective. As the learning pyramid shows, this has a 75% retention rate. The biggest area I encouraged both our players and coaches to improve on was having the players coach each other. We do our best to keep lines short and get as many reps as we can in each drill. The change is I want every player not involved in the drill to be coaching and helping his teammates. I want the players to develop a coach’s eye for proper technique. I want them to understand and be able to see exactly right versus almost right.

To facilitate this I asked our coaches to follow a simple procedure:
1. Name the drill they are working and give the exact coaching points (being very efficient with language) that they are looking for.
2. The players should then be looking for those coaching points being executed by their teammates if they are waiting their turn.
3. They should also work to use the precise language that the coaches use. In all we do, we want to be able to communicate a coaching point in one to three words.

In day one of spring ball, our older players did best with this. Of course, they are the most experienced and have heard these coaching points for a few years. The younger guys will pick it up within a week or so as long as everyone is reinforcing it, including our coaches.

The whole idea, as I explained it to them, was to be great teammates and serve each other, and to know their technique so well that they can play at their fastest speed on game day.


I am planning on using the technology used to create my iBook in order to share our playbook and information in a way that will improve player retention of learning.

You can download my iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays from the iBookstore on your iPad:

8 thoughts on “Retention of Learning

  1. Pingback: Checking for Understanding | You Can Do More!

  2. Pingback: Flipping the Practice Field | You Can Do More!

  3. Pingback: Make Your Coaching “Stick” | Sports Fitness Network

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